If you've used Instagram today, you may have seen a little bubble appear at the top of your News Feed.

It reads thus:

We're making some improvements and updating our Privacy Policy & Terms of Service. Read more about our changes.

It links to lengthy explanations of the new changes, which it says are "part of our new collaboration" with Facebook (which acquired Instagram earlier this year) and geared toward building "better experiences for our users."

Chances are you haven't read all of the text and probably won't. So here's what you need to know about the new Terms of Service, which takes effect on January 16, 2013.

1. Your data will be used for ads. Ads are coming to Instagram. This isn't a surprise. However, the new terms outline the fact the ads will use your data, photos and even the metadata (read: geo-location data), for targeting purposes. As The Social Times says, "Get ready for some ads starring your friends and you." In fact, your data may be used as a way to endorse sponsored content or promotions. This part is described in the Rights section of the new terms.

"Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."

2. Ads may not be marked clearly. You may not even know that ads are ads. This one seems curious since Facebook's sponsored content is typically clearly marked as such. However, the new Instagram Rights section says:

"You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such."

3. Instagram can use your photos. You own the content you post, but Instagram can use any of it without any issues. The Rights section says specifically:

Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service's Privacy Policy, available here: http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/.

4. Be aware of your responsibility when you post new photos. You are responsible for any issues involving content you post, not Instagram.

You agree that Instagram is not responsible for, and does not endorse, Content posted within the Service. Instagram does not have any obligation to prescreen, monitor, edit, or remove any Content. If your Content violates these Terms of Use, you may bear legal responsibility for that Content.

5. Backup your photos. You might want to back up your photos periodically. There's no guarantee they'll always be there. As the new Rights section writes:

Instagram is not a backup service and you agree that you will not rely on the Service for the purposes of Content backup or storage. Instagram will not be liable to you for any modification, suspension, or discontinuation of the Services, or the loss of any Content.

You can read the new Terms of Service in full here. How do you feel about the changes? Let us know in the comments.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Dustin Vaughn-Luma

    Check out more of UX designer Dustin Vaughn-Luma on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JKOx3/" target="_hplink">@dvl</a>, and make sure to stop by his <a href="http://wanderingpixel.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>, too.

  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Even <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/home/index.html" target="_hplink">NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center</a> uses Instagram to share lots of amazing space-related photos. Follow the center on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JQbmP/" target="_hplink">@nasagoddard</a>.

  • Zak Shelhamer

    View some of Zak Shelhamer's professional photography work on his <a href="http://photosbyzak.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>, and make sure to follow him on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JLOO92yOc5/" target="_hplink">@zakshelhamer</a>.

  • charity: water

    Follow <a href="http://www.charitywater.org/" target="_hplink">charity: water's</a> efforts to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries by following it on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/HhWIbLmhE_/" target="_hplink">@charitywater</a>. And make sure to visit the organization's <a href="http://www.charitywater.org/" target="_hplink">website</a> to learn more.

  • Tim Landis

    Medical supply delivery man Tim Landis has a good eye for great photo ops. Follow him on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/YrXUo/" target="_hplink">@curious2119</a> and check out more of his photos <a href="https://populagram.appspot.com/user/curious2119" target="_hplink">here</a>. [via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/the-art-of-instagram-spot_n_1257529.html#s667120" target="_hplink"><em>Huffington Post Arts</em></a>]

  • Rich Nacin

    Follow this talented professional photographer on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/HKr3qGE60w/" target="_hplink">@richnyc</a>, and make sure to check out more of his creative snapshots on his <a href="http://www.richnacin.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Carmyn Joy

    View more of Carmyn Joy's photographic work by following her on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/HhnBmMxUn4/" target="_hplink">@carmynjoy</a>. And make sure to check out her professional work on her <a href="http://www.carmynjoy.com/index2.php#/home/" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Chris Connolly

    User experience and mobile designer and developer Chris Connolly is quite an accomplished iPhone photographer, too. Follow him on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/CyOTO/" target="_hplink">@chrisconnolly</a> and view more of his cool photos <a href="http://populagram.appspot.com/user/chrisconnolly/1?size=l" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Ana Barros

    Follow Ana Barros on Instagram <a href="http://statigr.am/p/676486921_3289494" target="_hplink">@anasbarros</a> and scroll through more of her amazing phone photos on her <a href="http://opeixecru.tumblr.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Tyo Guritno

    You can follow Tyo Guritno on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/BB2Eh/" target="_hplink">@tyoguritno</a> and check out more of his awesome photos <a href="http://instagrid.me/tyoguritno/" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Serdar Ozturk

    Follow Chicago-based photographer/videographer Serdar Ozturk on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JV2cmmN2tf/" target="_hplink">@trashhand</a> and scroll through more of his beautiful photos by visiting his <a href="http://blog.trashhand.com/" target="_hplink">blog</a>.

  • Brenton Little

    Follow Brenton Little's beautiful photos on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/HxNKh2ujPx/" target="_hplink">@brenton_clarke</a> and check out more from the graphic designer on his <a href="http://www.brentonlittle.com/http___brentonlittle.com/brentonlittle.html" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Patricia Abi-Rached

    Filmmaker and photographer Patricia Abi-Rached is a frequent and talented Instagrammer -- follow her on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/Ikt_u4C19z/" target="_hplink">@patriciaar</a> and browse through some of her professional work on her <a href="http://www.seventyfour59.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Eelco Roos

    Check out more of Eelco Roos' stunning Instagram photography <a href="http://statigr.am/croyable" target="_hplink">here</a>, and make sure to follow him <a href="http://instagr.am/p/j4b7X/" target="_hplink">@croyable</a>.

  • Keepsy

    As might be expected from a photo bookmaking service, <a href="http://www.keepsy.com/main/home" target="_hplink">Keepsy</a> has an Instagram account filled with eye-catching images provided by its co-founder Blake Williams. Follow Keepsy on Instagram <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JUnbEOoQBj/" target="_hplink">@keepsy</a>.

  • Johnny Lace

    Check out more of Johnny Lace's stunning Instagram pictures on the photographer's <a href="http://johnnylace.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>, and make sure to follow him <a href="http://instagr.am/p/Jpu_z9orFG/" target="_hplink">@johnnylace</a>.

  • Robin May

    Follow this Toronto-based Instagrammer <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JdPyJiE2_7/" target="_hplink">@robinmay</a>, and check out more of her amazing photos <a href="http://web.stagram.com/n/robinmay/" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Øystein H

    You can follow the talented Instagram photographer Øystein H <a href="http://instagr.am/p/PMpym/" target="_hplink">@oyshal</a> and view more of his pictures on his <a href="http://oysteinh.tumblr.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Daniel Waldron

    Follow this visual designer and frequent Instagrammer <a href="http://instagr.am/p/JlzGMVAa50/" target="_hplink">@dew</a>, and check out more from him on his <a href="http://danielwaldron.com/" target="_hplink">website</a>.


    Companies insist Instagram will stay the same after Facebook's biggest acquisition ever.

Related on HuffPost: